How User Experience matters in multichannel commerce – Part I

As customers are interacting with more and more channels and touchpoints, it becomes essential for brands to adapt to their context and deliver meaningful interactions in order to satisfy their growing expectations.

Following the relaunch of its ecommerce site at the end of 2013, Halfords online sales have risen 13.7% from the same time last year.

Whenever adding a new channel, improving an existing touchpoint or redesigning the entire omnichannel setup of a brand, User Experience expertise actively participates to increasing conversion rates, repeat purchase and ultimately market share.

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The changing role of the store

Consumer adoption of digital commerce, a great opportunity for the store

In today’s new retail landscape, synergies between offline and online channels of a merchant are ubiquitous.

John Lewis customer multichannel behaviour and revenue snapshot. Source: The John Lewis Retail Report 2014.

John Lewis customer multichannel behaviour and revenue snapshot. Source: The John Lewis Retail Report 2014.

Click & Collect (pick-up in the shop of an order placed online) is now a must-have service for any brick & mortar’s e-commerce given its rapid adoption by shoppers and uplift effect on basket value. According to Forrester, a third of customers collecting orders in store make an additional impulse purchase.
Another evidence of the value of the store in digital commerce is Amazon’s recent announcement to launch its first physical outlet in New York City, a revolution for the global e-tailer.

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Multichannel Strategies for Malls

By adopting multichannel strategies, malls can offer rewarding shopping experiences to the connected consumers. Digital technologies and customer oriented marketing provide mall operators with new means to increase footfall and become more relevant to their retailers.

Loyalty programs: creating returning mall traffic

A loyalty approach enables a mall to develop a valuable customer database and share marketing operation efforts among its brands. Mall operators such as Unibail worldwide and So Ouest or Qwartz in Paris created simple but very effective loyalty programs. Their objective is to bring more loyal traffic to their retail clients and mutualize digital efforts on the web and mobile.

In Europe, these loyalty programs mostly base their marketing promise on services and benefits such as free parking, private sales as well as coupons and discounts.

The objective is to create distinctive services and offers that make customers feel valued and incentivized to frequently engage with the mall and its brands. Even premium malls, such as Le Bon Marché, are introducing loyalty programs to enable personalized communication with their customers.

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Loyalty programs: recognizing customers before they even purchase

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Loyalty programs are structured social marketing efforts that reward, and therefore encourage, loyal visiting and buying behaviour. This targeted and incentivized behaviour should be beneficial to both customers and companies.

In terms of loyalty, understanding pre-purchase moments is more important than the purchase itself: customers want to be recognized and perceive their interactions with a brand are valued more than just for the purchase they make.

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Designing a mobile touchpoint: the single-purpose app

When planning a new app, the current trend is to keep it simple and focus on its effectiveness to meet business objectives

Multi-purpose apps are progressively being abandoned as connected-consumers increasingly favour micro-interactions with specialised apps. One of the most eloquent illustration of this trend is Facebook’s “unbundling strategy”. The social media giant is moving away from multi-purpose apps (which they call “the portal syndrome”) and is now acquiring or developing a network of specialised apps, with very specific sets of functionalities: Paper, Instagram, Whatsapp to name a few.

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Turning Showrooming into an opportunity

Showrooming, a growing threat for the store

iPhone with Amazon Price Check App

Promoting showrooming: Amazon offered a 5% discount to anyone who used their Price Check app to scan the bar code of an item in a store and then bought it from Amazon website.

Showrooming (consumers going into a physical store to see a product and then purchasing it online at a better price) is often seen as brick & mortar retailers’ number one enemy. This phenomenon concerns 72% of US shoppers according to Accenture.

In addition to preparing their purchase online, today’s connected consumers increasingly use their mobiles to compare pricing when in store. In 2012, 53% of US in-store mobile users stated they already abandoned a purchase in store as a result of using their mobile, either to go purchase online (51%) or at a competitor’s store (38%).

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House of Fraser embraces Mobile First

House of Fraser’s Executive Director of Multichannel shares on the Mobile First strategy behind their new e-commerce site. The UK’s department store’s chose for adaptive responsiveness (several responsive templates optimized for categories of devices, e.g. tablets) to better adapt to users’ context.

House of Fraser recorded its best ever Christmas with a increase of 57.7% of its online sales in the three weeks to December 28th compared to 2012.

iPad with House of Fraser website displayed

House of Fraser on iPad

House of Fraser’s brick-and-mortar sales only increased by 3% over the same period of time.

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Mobile First

In this article, we share on the opportunities behind choosing mobile as first channel when devising new market strategies.

The New Default Form Factor

“Of the 10 million people in Egypt who access the mobile web, 70% of them are mobile only — they never use the desktop internet.”

Phone with Burberry app

Burberry broadcasts live fashion shows exclusively on mobile, allowing viewers to purchase and even personalize products.

In the MENA region more than anywhere else, mobile is increasingly becoming the default Internet access channel.

This is actually very good news for businesses as mobile touchpoints enable greater customer engagement and interactions with a brand.

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